Ballot turkeys

There will always be disputes about just how much government — and government spending — is in the best interest of constituents. But three proposals that could appear on next year’s election ballot amount to frontal assaults on state and local governments and public schools.

Take Proposed Initiative 12, for example. It would overturn any past local elections that authorized school districts to keep revenue in excess of TABOR Amendment limits. In other words, even if voters in a particular school district approved a TABOR override, as they did in School District 51 some years ago, the wishes of local voters would be overruled. Not only that, but all school districts would be required to cut their property tax mill levy in half over the next 10 years. The funding loss would supposedly be made up by the state.

Right. Everyone knows the state is facing severe budget cuts now. But even when the state revenue picture improves, a second ballot proposal would all but guarantee there wouldn’t be any additional funds for schools.

Proposed Initiative 10 would cut state income tax revenue by more than $1.2 billion after 10 years, according to an analysis by the Bell Policy Center in Denver. That’s just one of many tax cuts Initiative 10 would mandate for state and local governments.

On top of these, Proposed Initiative 21 would prohibit the state from borrowing money in any form, including the short-term borrowing it routinely uses now to meet cash-flow needs. It would also severely restrict the ability of local governments, including school districts, to borrow money for new construction projects.

Legal challenges are likely for these three measures, but there’s no guarantee they’ll be successful.

But, whether through the courts or at the ballot box, these three measures are government-bashing turkeys that deserved to be cut to pieces like a fat Butterball on the holiday table.


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